In recent years, scholars of Imperial Russia have turned their attention to the issue of race. Yet these discussions often take place without adequate consideration of the concept’s complexity and the specificity of the Russian context. This talk explores these methodological challenges and offers an alternative approach. The topic is approached first on a conceptual level and a theoretical framework is offered as a basis for discussion. The talk then turns to the question of Russian specificity considering several ways in which the reception of racial concepts sets Imperial Russia apart from the Atlantic world.
Nathaniel Knight is Associate Professor and Chair of the History Department at Seton Hall University. He received his BA from Oberlin College and his doctorate from Columbia University. His research explores Russian ethnography through scientific societies, folklore, and 19th century exhibitions. Knight has published extensively on the human sciences in Imperial Russia and is completing a book on the history of Russian ethnography.
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